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Thursday, May 30, 2019

Record Number of Students and Graduates Receive Public Interest Fellowships

In May, Yale Law School announced that 63 of its graduating students and recent alumni were awarded public interest post-graduate fellowships.

Of this number, 42 fellowships were awarded directly by the Law School, while 21 were awarded by external fellowship programs. The number of Yale Law School fellowships awarded and the number of external fellowships received, as well as the total number of fellowships, were the highest ever in an academic year. 

These fellowships offered by the Law School and some outside organizations provide support for one or two years of work in the public interest, jumpstarting their careers while serving the legal needs of underserved members of society.

The effects of these fellowships can be transformative. “Yale Law School has put its resources behind me at critical turning points in my career,” said Clinical Professor of Law Fiona Doherty ’99. “Shortly after graduation, the Law School gave me a fellowship that launched my earliest jobs in practice. Ten years later, a second law school fellowship helped me transition from practice to teaching.”

Forty-two of the fellows have received fellowships through programs that include the Arthur Liman Public Interest Fellowship, the Gruber Fellowship in Global Justice and Women’s Rights, the Heyman Federal Public Service Fellowship, the Hillary Rodham Clinton Fellowship, the Mary A. McCarthy Public Interest Fellowship, the Robert L. Bernstein Fellowship in International Human Rights, the Robina Foundation Human Rights Fellowship, the San Francisco Affirmative Litigation Project Fellowship, the YLS International Court of Justice Fellowship, the YLS Permanent Court of Arbitration Fellowship, the YLS Public Interest Fellowship, and the Yale Law Journal Fellowship.

The Law School also awarded a forty-third public interest fellowship, the David Nierenberg ’78 International Refugee Assistance Project Fellowship, to an external applicant from another law school.

Twenty-one fellows will pursue public interest work through fellowship programs funded by outside organizations, including six who received Equal Justice Works Fellowships, six Justice Catalyst Fellowships, and three Skadden Fellowships.

“Yale Law School’s support for public interest fellowships is unparalleled,” said Dean Heather Gerken. “These fellowships enable our students and graduates to embark on their careers in public interest law and make a real difference. After their fellowships, our graduates are often hired permanently by their fellowship organizations or go on to other career opportunities armed with crucial practice experience and a deep appreciation of the importance of service.”

This year’s recipients will be working for organizations including the MacArthur Justice Center, the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, the ACLU Women’s Rights Project, Bronx Defenders, Texas Civil Rights Project, the Legal Aid Society of New York, and Human Rights First.

Recipients will go on to have a widespread potential impact on underserved communities throughout the country in states like Colorado, Hawaii, and Tennessee, and internationally in countries including Argentina, Germany, Iraq, and Switzerland.

See the full list of this year’s fellowship recipients.